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    Tuesday, October 27, 2009

    Reuters - Nintendo to launch new DSi handheld in Japan: report

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    Nintendo to launch new DSi handheld in Japan: report

    Tuesday, Oct 27, 2009 2:7AM UTC

    TOKYO (Reuters) - Nintendo Co plans to launch a new version of its DSi hand-held videogame player with a larger screen in Japan as early as this year to kick-start sluggish demand, the Nikkei business daily said on Tuesday.

    Nintendo, which cut the price of its popular Wii videogame console last month, has been looking to bolster demand for the DSi, whose monthly sales have slowed to a third of their peak levels following its launch about a year ago.

    Nintendo's hand-held, which now has a 3.25-inch screen, is struggling against competition from Apple Inc's iPhone, whose screen is about the same size.

    The new version will have a screen larger than 4 inches, which would put it roughly on a par with the screen on Sony Corp's PlayStation portable game player, the Nikkei said.

    "A bigger screen alone does not count for much," said KBC Securities analyst Hiroshi Kamide, adding that Nintendo needs better graphics quality and a more powerful chip to run multimedia-type games and become more competitive.

    "Nintendo is under pressure from iPhone and iTouch."

    The DSi now uses a chip by ARM Holdings.

    The large-screen DSi will sell for 18,900 yen, about the same as the current version, the Nikkei said.

    Nintendo spokeswoman Yuka Tanegashima declined to comment.

    Nintendo also plans to launch a version of the DSi with more robust anti-piracy features for the Chinese and South Korean markets by the end of the current business year in March 2010, the Nikkei said.

    Its shares ended the morning down 0.5 percent, outperforming Tokyo's electrical machinery index's 1.7 percent decline.

    (Reporting by Mayumi Negishi and Nathan Layne; Editing by Michael Watson)

    Reuters - Busy U.S. cell networks a bonanza for gear makers

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    Busy U.S. cell networks a bonanza for gear makers

    Monday, Oct 26, 2009 4:13PM UTC

    By Sinead Carew

    CHICAGO (Reuters) - Dropped calls may be annoying to a mobile phone user but network equipment makers and operators are eyeing a big payday from congested cellphone networks.

    Flashy smartphones like Apple Inc's iPhone, which allow downloads of everything from games to stock prices, are straining mobile networks and pushing carriers to upgrade wired broadband connections to cell towers, known as backhaul.

    The market for backhaul equipment will double to $10.9 billion in 2013 from $4.6 billion in 2008, according to research firm Infonetics.

    This will provide new areas of growth for network equipment makers such as Alcatel Lucent, Ciena, Nokia Siemens, a venture of Nokia and Siemens.

    The Supercomm telecom trade show in Chicago this week was buzzing with operators and gear makers talking up the new possibilities of backhaul.

    "We're seeing at this show, really a lot of demand for optical backhaul capability," said Nokia Siemens North American President Sue Spradley.

    Operators like Verizon Wireless and AT&T Inc are beefing up their backhaul by replacing old copper wires with fast fiber optic connections in markets where they have both a wired and a wireless network.

    They are working on new deals with local operators outside their wireline markets to improve mobile data rates there.

    Telecom operators such as Level 3 Communications Inc and Qwest Communications International Inc and cable operators such as privately held Cox Communications all want be first to lay fiber to a cell site to make sure they win the backhaul contract with the wireless operators which have equipment there.

    Spradley said the U.S. market had a real requirement for upgrades as operators want to avoid bottlenecks in their increasingly popular data networks.

    IPhone users, who tend to download more data than average mobile phone owners, have criticized AT&T's slow data speeds and the company has said it is building a stronger backhaul.

    "If you have a really fast radio link and you don't have a large pipe you're slowing down the network," said Spradley, adding she had customers signing deals worth a few million to the $50 million range at the trade show.

    The executive said she expects the small operators who made initial orders for backhaul equipment to come back for more once they win business for upgrading more cell sites.

    LOCAL WHOLESALE BOOST

    Some local telecom companies struggling with home phone disconnections, are also getting new wholesale telecom business from the trend.

    Qwest, which runs a long distance fiber service for businesses as well as local phone and Internet services for consumers, said it is already seeing growth from backhaul.

    Qwest Chief Financial Officer Pieter Poll said in an interview that his company had received inquiries from wireless operators about backhaul upgrades for about 7,500 cell sites out of 17,000 across Qwest's operating states.

    The executive said this was a sign of strong demand even if Qwest does not ultimately win the backhaul contract for all these sites, as it competes heavily with cable providers.

    Where it does win contracts, Poll said it could mean consumers in nearby communities may end up with higher-speed residential services sooner than they would have otherwise.

    Level 3, a service provider with a long-distance fiber network that serves businesses and other carriers, announced a new backhaul service offering this week.

    Verizon Wireless, a venture of Verizon Communications and Vodafone Group Plc, is planning to upgrade its backhaul for its next-generation network, which it promises to put in as many as 30 markets in 2010.

    "For 4G, whether its WiMax or LTE, the backhaul will have to be fortified," Mark Wegleitner, a senior vice president for technology at Verizon, said in an interview.

    Long Term Evolution (LTE) is the 4G technology Verizon will use, and WiMax is a rival technology.

    Estimates vary as to how much carriers will have to boost their backhaul links, which can typically move around 6 Megabits of data per second to 10 Megabits per second (Mbps).

    Qwest says some of its customers are looking for speeds as high as 350 Megabits per second, but Wegleitner said upgrades to a range of 30 Mbps to 50 Mbps would be more typical. But he noted that the company would be ready to upgrade to 300 Mbps in busier cell sites.

    "Cranking up the hardware, once you've fiber installed, isn't that hard to do," he said.

    (Reporting by Sinead Carew; Editing by Richard Chang)

    Tuesday, October 13, 2009

    Reuters - Viadeo buys Unyk, second only to LinkedIn

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    Viadeo buys Unyk, second only to LinkedIn

    Tuesday, Oct 13, 2009 11:49AM UTC

    By Tarmo Virki, European technology correspondent

    HELSINKI (Reuters) - French company Viadeo, which runs a social networking website aimed at professionals, has acquired Canadian peer Unyk, to become the second-largest firm globally after LinkedIn.

    Viadeo said on Tuesday it has more than 25 million users after the deal, and its network was growing by more than one million users each month. LinkedIn has 45 million members.

    The economic crisis has sparked a spike in use of online social networks as people hedge against losing work and laid-off employees seek jobs.

    Viadeo said the deal included 16 million users, a smart address book feature and contact synchronization technology, but did not disclose financial details.

    "This acquisition is highly complementary and more than doubles our subscriber base," chief executive Dan Serfaty said in statement.

    "We have significantly strengthened our market position and offering, particularly throughout Mexico, Brazil and India," Serfaty said, adding the company now has 4 million users in North America.

    Viadeo said it was currently profitable and expected the deal to boost profit in the first year.

    (Reporting by Tarmo Virki; Editing by Dan Lalor)

    Friday, October 9, 2009

    CNN - Obama awarded 2009 Nobel Peace Prize

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    Obama awarded 2009 Nobel Peace Prize


    President Barack Obama won the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize on Friday, a stunning decision that comes just eight months into his presidency.

    The Norwegian Nobel Committee said it honored Obama for his "extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples."

    The decision appeared to catch most observers by surprise.

    The president had not been mentioned as among front-runners for the prize, and the roomful of reporters gasped when Thorbjorn Jagland, chairman of the Nobel committee, uttered Obama's name.

    Nominations for the prize had to be postmarked by February 1 -- only 12 days after Obama took office. The committee sent out its solicitation for nominations last September -- two months before Obama was elected president.

    The president, who was awakened to be told he had won, said he was humbled to be selected, according to an administration official.

    Obama will make a statement Friday at 10:30 a.m. ET from the Rose Garden, administration officials said.

    The Nobel committee recognized Obama's efforts to solve complex global problems including working toward a world free of nuclear weapons.

    "Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world's attention and given its people hope for a better future," the committee said.

    Jagland said the decision was "unanimous" and came with ease.

    He rejected the notion that Obama had been recognized prematurely for his efforts and said the committee wanted to promote the president just it had Mikhail Gorbachev in 1990 in his efforts to open up the Soviet Union.

    "His diplomacy is founded in the concept that those who are to lead the world must do so on the basis of values and attitudes that are shared by the majority of the world's population," it said.

    Obama's recognition comes less than a year after he became the first African-American to win the White House. He is the fourth U.S. president to win the prestigious prize and the third sitting president to do so.

    Jagland said he hoped the prize would help Obama resolve the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Former Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari, last year's laureate, said it was clear the Nobel committee wanted to encourage Obama on the issues he has been discussing on the world stage.

    "I see this as an important encouragement," Ahtisaari said.

    The committee wanted to be "far more daring" than in recent times and make an impact on global politics, said Kristian Berg Harpviken, director of the International Peace Research Institute.

    And Wangari Muta Maathai, the Kenyan environmentalist who won the 2004 Peace Prize, said the win for Obama, whose father was Kenyan, would help Africa move forward.

    "I think it is extraordinary," she said. "It will be even greater inspiration for the world. He has shown how we can probably come together, work together in a cooperative way."

    The award comes at a crucial time for Obama, who has initiated peace missions to key parts of the globe.

    Obama's envoy to the Middle East, George Mitchell, has returned to the region to advocate for peace negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians. Mitchell met Thursday with Israeli President Shimon Peres. He plans to meet Friday with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu before talking with Palestinian leaders in the West Bank.

    Secretary of State Hillary Clinton starts a six-day trip to Europe and Russia on Friday. On the trip, the secretary will discuss the next steps on Iran and North Korea, and international efforts to have the two countries end their nuclear programs.

    The centerpiece of the trip will be her visit to Moscow, where she will work toward an agreement to take the place of the Start II arms control pact, which expires December 5. She also will address the new bilateral presidential commission that is working on a broad range of issues, from arms control to health.

    Mohamed ElBaradei, who won the 2005 peace prize for his efforts to prevent nuclear energy being used for military means, said Obama deserved to win for his efforts to bring Iran to the table for direct nuclear talks with the United States.

    "I could not think of anybody who is more deserving," said ElBaradei, the chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

    As the news of Obama's win broke online, postings on social network sites Twitter and Facebook expressed surprise. Many started with the word: Wow.

    The last sitting U.S. president to win the peace prize was Woodrow Wilson in 1919. The other was Theodore Roosevelt in 1906. Jimmy Carter had been out of office for more than two decades when he won in 2002.

    This year's Peace Prize nominees included 172 people -- among them three Chinese dissidents, an Afghan activist and a controversial Colombian lawmaker -- and 33 organizations, the highest number of nominations ever.

    The Nobel recipient receives a prize of about $1.4 million.

    CNN - Obama awarded 2009 Nobel Peace Prize

    Sent from bombastic4000@yahoo.com's mobile device from http://www.cnn.com.

    Obama awarded 2009 Nobel Peace Prize


    President Barack Obama won the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize on Friday, a stunning decision that comes just eight months into his presidency.

    The Norwegian Nobel Committee said it honored Obama for his "extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples."

    The decision appeared to catch most observers by surprise.

    The president had not been mentioned as among front-runners for the prize, and the roomful of reporters gasped when Thorbjorn Jagland, chairman of the Nobel committee, uttered Obama's name.

    Nominations for the prize had to be postmarked by February 1 -- only 12 days after Obama took office. The committee sent out its solicitation for nominations last September -- two months before Obama was elected president.

    The president, who was awakened to be told he had won, said he was humbled to be selected, according to an administration official.

    Obama will make a statement Friday at 10:30 a.m. ET from the Rose Garden, administration officials said.

    The Nobel committee recognized Obama's efforts to solve complex global problems including working toward a world free of nuclear weapons.

    "Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world's attention and given its people hope for a better future," the committee said.

    Jagland said the decision was "unanimous" and came with ease.

    He rejected the notion that Obama had been recognized prematurely for his efforts and said the committee wanted to promote the president just it had Mikhail Gorbachev in 1990 in his efforts to open up the Soviet Union.

    "His diplomacy is founded in the concept that those who are to lead the world must do so on the basis of values and attitudes that are shared by the majority of the world's population," it said.

    Obama's recognition comes less than a year after he became the first African-American to win the White House. He is the fourth U.S. president to win the prestigious prize and the third sitting president to do so.

    Jagland said he hoped the prize would help Obama resolve the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Former Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari, last year's laureate, said it was clear the Nobel committee wanted to encourage Obama on the issues he has been discussing on the world stage.

    "I see this as an important encouragement," Ahtisaari said.

    The committee wanted to be "far more daring" than in recent times and make an impact on global politics, said Kristian Berg Harpviken, director of the International Peace Research Institute.

    And Wangari Muta Maathai, the Kenyan environmentalist who won the 2004 Peace Prize, said the win for Obama, whose father was Kenyan, would help Africa move forward.

    "I think it is extraordinary," she said. "It will be even greater inspiration for the world. He has shown how we can probably come together, work together in a cooperative way."

    The award comes at a crucial time for Obama, who has initiated peace missions to key parts of the globe.

    Obama's envoy to the Middle East, George Mitchell, has returned to the region to advocate for peace negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians. Mitchell met Thursday with Israeli President Shimon Peres. He plans to meet Friday with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu before talking with Palestinian leaders in the West Bank.

    Secretary of State Hillary Clinton starts a six-day trip to Europe and Russia on Friday. On the trip, the secretary will discuss the next steps on Iran and North Korea, and international efforts to have the two countries end their nuclear programs.

    The centerpiece of the trip will be her visit to Moscow, where she will work toward an agreement to take the place of the Start II arms control pact, which expires December 5. She also will address the new bilateral presidential commission that is working on a broad range of issues, from arms control to health.

    Mohamed ElBaradei, who won the 2005 peace prize for his efforts to prevent nuclear energy being used for military means, said Obama deserved to win for his efforts to bring Iran to the table for direct nuclear talks with the United States.

    "I could not think of anybody who is more deserving," said ElBaradei, the chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

    As the news of Obama's win broke online, postings on social network sites Twitter and Facebook expressed surprise. Many started with the word: Wow.

    The last sitting U.S. president to win the peace prize was Woodrow Wilson in 1919. The other was Theodore Roosevelt in 1906. Jimmy Carter had been out of office for more than two decades when he won in 2002.

    This year's Peace Prize nominees included 172 people -- among them three Chinese dissidents, an Afghan activist and a controversial Colombian lawmaker -- and 33 organizations, the highest number of nominations ever.

    The Nobel recipient receives a prize of about $1.4 million.

    Wednesday, October 7, 2009

    CNN - 'SNL' Obama sketch marks end of honeymoon

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    'SNL' Obama sketch marks end of honeymoon


    "Saturday Night Live" was formed in the crucible of the mid-1970s, when Watergate brought respect for politicians to all-time lows, the counterculture was taking over comedy, and many television viewers were seeking out something fresh and bold.

    It was a powerful combination -- and after 34 years, the combination of "SNL" and politics can still strike sparks among political observers.

    The most recent example came this past weekend when Fred Armisen, as President Obama, chided "those on the right" for saying that he was "turning this great country into something that resembles the Soviet Union or Nazi Germany."

    Not true, said Armisen as Obama.

    "When you look at my record," he said, "it's very clear what I've done so far -- and that is nothing."

    The sketch has caused a rumble among the inside-the-Beltway chattering classes and New York news nabobs. Wrote Washington Post blogger Jonathan Capehart, "When your 'friends' start talking about you like this -- and friends with a huge megaphone and a feel for the national mood -- the White House should listen."

    "Humor with some truth in it is always dangerous. Make no mistake, a drumbeat of belittlement can damage a president," added CNN political contributor Ed Rollins in a column.

    The White House had no comment when asked about the sketch by CNN.

    "SNL" cast members weren't available for interviews, an NBC representative said. "SNL" creator Lorne Michaels also turned down an interview request but has said the show doesn't take sides.

    "I think 'SNL's' role is, the moment they're in power, we're the opposition," he told CNN's Alina Cho last year. "We're not partisan. We're not, you know, we're not putting on anything that we don't believe is funny."

    The recent sketch is indicative of the end of Obama's honeymoon, Syracuse University pop culture professor Robert Thompson says, but he doesn't want to read more into it than that.

    "Comedy is about going after the people in power," he said.

    The president has also taken recent shots from "The Daily Show" and "Real Time with Bill Maher." "What this says is that the comedy-industrial complex has turned its sights on the reigning president of the United States," he said.

    But, he added, "I wouldn't put this into the meme category," referring to concepts that travel so quickly they take on a life of their own, such as Tina Fey's Sarah Palin sketches from last year. "The [Obama] sketch wasn't that funny."

    Indeed, the show's overall impact is often mixed, observes Slate columnist and Rutgers media studies professor David Greenberg. It can "capture or intensify" a storyline that's being passed through the news media, but the show is more a barometer that can change with events.

    "It's not incapable of influencing things," he said, noting the show's slash-and-burn '70s satire and Fey's Palin parody. "But since the early '80s, those moments are pretty rare. ... You'll see good impersonations but not the underlying critique you had with, say, Dan Aykroyd as [Richard] Nixon."

    Besides, he added, the Obama sketch may have titillated the politico-media crowd, but he wonders whether its impact went any wider.

    "I'm a political junkie," he said, "and this is the first I've heard of it."

    Indeed, the ratings for the episode were a far cry from last year's Palin-fest -- from a 7.3 rating for the same week in 2008, to 4.7 -- and the Armisen sketch didn't get the frenzied online dispersion the Palin sketches did.

    However, Obama should be concerned about one thing, observes Thompson.

    In general, "SNL" mocked previous presidents' personal characteristics, such as Clinton's outsized appetites or George W. Bush's struggles with spoken English. With Obama -- who lacks the same kind of easily caricatured traits, Thompson says -- the show went after his record.

    "In some ways," Thompson said, "he's vulnerable to more serious damage."

    Reuters - Dell plans first U.S. smartphone with AT&T: report

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    Dell plans first U.S. smartphone with AT&T: report

    Wednesday, Oct 07, 2009 8:28PM UTC

    SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Dell plans to launch a smartphone with Google's Android mobile software on carrier AT&T's network as soon as early 2010, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.

    That would mark Dell's first foray into the booming and competitive U.S. smartphone market, now fought over by the likes of Apple and Research in Motion.

    The Wall Street Journal, citing people briefed on the matter, reported that Dell's phone would come with a touch-screen and a camera.

    Last summer Dell confirmed it was developing mobile devices for China Mobile Ltd, but the company wouldn't say what type of devices or give any details on the timing.

    Dell spokesman Andrew Bowins declined to comment on the Journal report Wednesday but said, "We are deeply engaged with our operator partners around the world to deliver mobile broadband enabled computing devices."

    The Dell spokesman said: "We haven't announced anything around voice or Android although we continue to explore opportunities in those areas with operators around the world."

    AT&T also declined comment, but spokesman Michael Coe said "we expect to sell Android phones in the future."

    Google declined to comment.

    On Tuesday, Google announced it was partnering with Verizon Wireless to co-develop multiple phones based on Android. They plan to bring two phones to market this year.

    Verizon Wireless is a venture of Verizon Communications Inc and Vodafone Group Plc.

    There have been a number of announcements recently relating to Android phones, including Motorola Inc's recent introduction of the Cliq phone and HTC's Hero, slated for U.S. release next week.

    (Reporting by Gabriel Madway, Ritsuko Ando and Anupreeta Das; Editing by Carol Bishopric, Gary Hill)

    Reuters - AT&T allows Internet voice calls on Apple's iPhone

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    AT&T allows Internet voice calls on Apple's iPhone

    Wednesday, Oct 07, 2009 1:48AM UTC

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - AT&T Inc will open its third-generation wireless network to third-party Internet voice applications on Apple Inc's iPhone, clearing the way for services such as Skype.

    AT&T, which has exclusive rights to the iPhone, said in a statement that the company informed Apple and the U.S. Federal Communications Commission of its decision, which was in response to a regulatory inquiry into the wireless industry.

    "Today's decision was made after evaluating our customers' expectations and use of the device compared to dozens of others we offer," said Ralph de la Vega, head of AT&T Mobility & Consumer Markets.

    The move allows Skype, owned by eBay Inc, to file an application with Apple, which would then review it and decide whether to approve the app for its iPhone.

    Apple praised AT&T's move and said it would move swiftly to make voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) apps available on the iPhone

    "We are very happy that AT&T is now supporting VoIP applications," Apple spokeswoman Natalie Kerris said. "We will be amending our developer agreements to get VoIP apps on the App Store and in customers' hands as soon as possible."

    Apple had previously not made Google Inc's Voice application available for downloading on its iPhone. The two companies have bickered in recent statements to the FCC about why Google's Voice application is not available on the iPhone.

    Google said Apple rejected it. But Apple said it is still studying it because the application alters the iPhone's telephone functionality and user interface.

    AT&T's action, which is a reversal from a previous position to ban such calls on its 3G network due to revenue concerns, does not affect the Google Voice app spat.

    The FCC, which has launched an inquiry into the state of competition, innovation and investment in the wireless industry, welcomed the move.

    "When AT&T indicated, in response to the FCC's inquiry, that it would take another look at permitting VoIP on its 3G network I was encouraged," FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said in a statement.

    "I commend AT&T's decision to open its network to VoIP. Opening wireless services to greater consumer choice will drive investment and innovation in the mobile marketplace," he said.

    On October 22 the FCC is expected to propose a Net neutrality rule aimed at ensuring that network operators like AT&T and Verizon treat the flow of Internet content and applications without discrimination.

    But the move by AT&T is not likely to deter the FCC from going ahead with the Net neutrality rule.

    "We believe the announcement is good news for Skype and other VoIP providers, and it also improves AT&T's political and rhetorical position as the FCC attempts to write network neutrality rules, including for wireless broadband providers," Stifel Nicolaus analyst David Kaut said.

    "AT&T's announcement should remove one likely thorn with regulators, but does not, in our view, halt the movement toward applying Net neutrality to wireless," Kaut said.

    The move was made the same day Verizon Wireless announced it will sell two mobile phones with Google's Android operating system this year, part of a partnership that could boost Google's efforts to challenge Apple in the fast-growing smartphone market.

    The first Android phones from Verizon Wireless, a venture of Verizon Communications Inc and Vodafone Group Plc, will support the Google Voice software application -- allowing consumers to make low-priced international calls and which Apple had yet to approve for its iPhone.

    Skype President Josh Silverman called AT&T's move the "right step" but cautioned that government actions are still needed to maintain an open Internet. Skype's application has been downloaded on 10 percent of all iPhone and iPod Touch devices, where it previously could be used over Wi-Fi, but not AT&T's 3G network.

    "Nonetheless, the positive actions of one company are no substitute for a government policy that protects openness and benefits consumers," Silverman said.

    (Reporting by John Poirier and Gabriel Madway; Editing by Bernard Orr, Gary Hill)

    CNN - Scientists discover massive ring around Saturn

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    Scientists discover massive ring around Saturn


    Scientists at NASA have discovered a nearly invisible ring around Saturn -- one so large that it would take 1 billion Earths to fill it.

    The ring's orbit is tilted 27 degrees from the planet's main ring plane. The bulk of it starts about 3.7 million miles (6 million km) away from the planet and extends outward another 7.4 million miles (12 million km).

    Its diameter is equivalent to 300 Saturns lined up side to side. And its entire volume can hold one billion Earths, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory said late Tuesday.

    "This is one supersized ring," said Anne Verbiscer, an astronomer at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.

    Verbiscer and two others are authors of a paper about the discovery published Wednesday in the journal Nature.

    The obvious question: Why did it take scientists so long to discover something so massive?

    The ring is made up of ice and dust particles that are so far apart that "if you were to stand in the ring, you wouldn't even know it," Verbiscer said in a statement.

    Also, Saturn doesn't receive a lot of sunlight, and the rings don't reflect much visible light.

    But the cool dust -- about 80 Kelvin (minus 316 degrees Fahrenheit) -- glows with thermal radiation. NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, used to spot the ring, picked up on the heat.

    One of Saturn's moons, Phoebe, orbits within the ring. As Phoebe collides with comets, it kicks up planetary dust. Scientists believe the ice and dust particles that make up the ring stems from those collisions.

    The ring may also help explain an age-old mystery surrounding another of Saturn's moons: Iapetus.

    Astronomer Giovanni Cassini, who first spotted Iapetus in 1671, deduced the moon has a white and dark side -- akin to a yin-yang symbol. But scientists did not know why.

    The new ring orbits in the opposite direction to Iapetus. And, say researchers, it's possible that the moon's dark coloring is a result of the ring's dust particles splattering against Iapetus like bugs on a windshield.

    "Astronomers have long suspected that there is a connection between Saturn's outer moon Phoebe and the dark material on Iapetus," said Douglas Hamilton of the University of Maryland in College Park -- one of the three authors reporting on the findings in the journal Nature.

    "This new ring provided convincing evidence of that relationship."

    Saturday, October 3, 2009

    About Me

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    If you know me then you know my name. I am The Black Rider and the world is my Flame. The rider writes, observes, creates, produces, and learns the world around him. Ride on. Ride on!

    The Remnants